Monday, January 16, 2012

The Shantaram in Me

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of the Standard Chartered Mumbai marathon. While I am no marathon sprinter, like most inactive jobless people, I LIKE TO FEEL A PART OF A WORTHY CAUSE, especially if it involves celebrity spotting from close corners. Let’s face it, where else would you have the chance to stand at arm’s length with the rich and famous of Mumbai? I was in college when the first marathon was held, and I still remember standing right on Marine Drive with my Stats copy (for an exam the next day), my eyes straining to catch a glimpse of Rahul Bose, my longstanding crush.

Which brings me back to my undergrad days. Now I was a self-confessed LOSER then. Not that I was a winner in B school by any stretch of imagination, but at least in those two years, I did what every college student is supposed to do: bunk lectures, flunk exams, go out with random people, party, get drunk, travel on shoestring budgets and try new things. But undergrad was a different story altogether: all I did was study and hang out with my equally loserly roomie, admiring the “cool crowd” from a distance.

Obviously, over time, the boundaries of ‘coolness’ get blurred and now I am on quite good terms with some of those girls who intimidated me as a teenager. So, yesterday I went back a few years, spent a few pleasurable hours walking down Marine Drive and bargaining on Colaba Causeway, my eyes lighting up as I remembered those lazy evenings at Mondegar or Leopold. I also met one of my college friends after almost a year, and while we ruminated about the old days over a couple of Cosmopolitans, I realized a few home truths about my undergrad batch mates:

1. We are OLD…
2. Many of them are in MY dream profession (i.e. media / journalism/ advertising) and apparently, things are NOT quite as perfect as I believe they should be even if you are in a field that excites you…
3. Many of them have achieved a lot in a matter of six years while I was busy getting confused: some of them got married very early, followed by a quick divorce and now they are living it up either with some exotic foreigner or living life on their own terms in a foreign country; some of them got married very early and are now fretting over admission of their kids; some of them went to countries like Ireland for a course in bakery, came back to work as a chef in some posh restaurant, didn’t like the work culture and went to Paris for some other culinary curriculum; some of them ended up in modeling or entertainment (ad/movies/television serials); some of them became stewardesses, earned obscene amounts of money and went abroad for further studies; of course some of the losers went into boring professions like law/economics/business management but they are not important in this context…

What did I miss? Why did I choose a conventional life? If I had a chance to go back to those three years, would I do things differently? Probably. But then again, would I be happy if I did things differently? Probably not…

“I was going through deep and silent water. Nothing and no-one could make me happy. Nothing and no-one could make me sad. I was tough. Which is probably the saddest thing you can say about a man.”


But the Shantaram in me continues to be confused…

6 comments:

~ Mohit said...

I so much can relate to the second half this post. Reminiscing about the under grad days ... With a difference ... I completely accrue whatever I am today (as in not a hotshot or stg but just as a person) to my engineering days. Those 4 years tested me in so many different ways that I felt a new person altogether by the end of it. That MBA ruined me is a different story altogether. . While my undergrad gave me friends, my MBA just gave me couple of self centered professional touchpoints ... So even though I did my engg from one of the worst big cities in India, Kanpur; I just loved the experience while my MBA though done in 'The' Mumbai has no addition per se to Me per se ... As I keep saying, Engg gave ,me awesome friends but MBA gave me ability to lose them quickly and efficiently by imbibing selfishiness and self centric demeanor ...
Anyways, long comment. Not sure why but why not to post after so much of typing on cell :-)

~ Mohit said...

Excuse grammatical mistakes :-( too lazy to correct now ...

Nefertiti said...

@mohit
lol... comment section longer than the post itself :) thanks for sharing. and the undergrad days do make a deeper impact on you as a person either because of the duration of the course or simply because as a teenager you are still impressionable as a person.

which is why, in my case, once a loser, always a loser!

~ Mohit said...

Ya. Actually very long. Gotta learn to speak more type less ... :-)

Nefertiti said...

@mohit
same here... it's so much easier to pen it down in black and white

~ Mohit said...

cheers !!!